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Why should I get involved in volunteering?

Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Scope community team Posts: 3,661 Disability Gamechanger
Yesterday was International Volunteer Day, a day to celebrate volunteering and shed light on the important role volunteers play, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. The theme for this year is 'Together We Can Through Volunteering'.

Volunteering as a disabled person

Volunteering Matters believe that: 
Having a physical or learning disability shouldn’t prevent anyone from volunteering. We work in partnership with local organisations and businesses to help disabled people actively volunteer (via supported volunteering if necessary) and contribute to their community. We offer support placements in many different work environments such as retail, gardening, and hospitals.
Volunteering can offer up lots of opportunities, including:
  • Meeting new people
  • Improving your social skills
  • Learning skills that are useful in the workplace, as well as in general life
  • Getting a reference for your CV
  • Increasing your confidence levels
  • Gaining more knowledge on something you're interested in
You can read more about your options, and the benefits of volunteering, on this page on Scope's website

It's important that you only volunteer if you want to. If you feel as though you're being taken advantage of, it's important that you speak up. This could be to your manager, someone more senior, or an external organisation. You can read more about what to do if you're being treated badly as a volunteer on the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) website.

three volunteers wearing facemasks unloading boxes from a truck

Where to find volunteering opportunities

Volunteers are still being recruited, despite the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, many new volunteering opportunities have opened up. Some of these are remote, such as telephone befriending services, and some are in-person but socially distanced, such as doing food deliveries for at-risk people.

There are a number of websites through which you can find volunteering opportunities. I've listed a few below:
You can also visit the websites of organisations you're interested in volunteering with, such as Scope's volunteering page.

Even if there aren't any opportunities being advertised with the organisation you're interested in volunteering with, it can be worth getting in touch with them directly to see if there's anything you could help out with.

Read next

Why I owe everything to volunteering - blog post by @HannahMckearnen

Tips for volunteering as a disabled person - blog post by @emmarenshaw

Have you ever done any volunteering? Are you interested in volunteering in the future? Has the coronavirus pandemic made you more or less likely to volunteer?

Replies

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    Meh, I've been volunteering for years, and then some fool from an Agency told me all those years of voluntary work were wasted because it doesn't equal REAL work, ie paid! Look, Clown! I've not spend the last 26 years in placements from College and other volunteering and not gained relevant experience in IT and Retail, it's neither my fault or problem that I can't get a paid job! Nobody will take on the disabled except "Sheltered Workshops" which pay about 2 quid a day for 5 days, and I refuse on principle to work 40 hours a week for a tenner a week.


  • littleacornlittleacorn Member Posts: 149 Pioneering
    I have volunteered all my life. As a child I was a St Johns ambulance volunteers. As an adult I was a school governer, sat on education appeals panel for the local authority, ran a parent and toddler group, sat on a local charity board, provided family support for those children at risk, advisor for citizens advice and currently sit on 2 disabilty charities. Yes thats a lot but I am old! Ha ha. The experience it gave me helped me in to paid employment over the years. I have even worked recruiting volunteers myself for another charity. It is so rewarding and if you dont think the volunteer role gives you this then it is not the right volunteer role for you. There are so many more  out there so just look around. Make sure you have the support you need when you do your volunteer role and you will never look back. Good luck everyone.
  • WestHam06WestHam06 Community champion, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,218 Pioneering
    Hi @Tori_Scope
                                 I have been volunteering in a variety of roles my entire adult life and it is so rewarding. Not only have I been privilege to meet some amazing people, I have also gained some vital life skills as well as learning new things. One of my volunteering roles also led to paid employment and I'm really pleased to be part of the volunteering community. I'm sorry to hear of your experience @MrAllen1976, that should not have been said but shows people's lack of understanding. Volunteering, in my opinion, is part of the backbone to our country and I salute anyone who becomes involved. It is important to ensure that as a volunteer you are not taken advantage of and to also find a role which suits your individual needs and is rewarding. Good luck to anyone exploring this option, it really is worthwhile. Thank you
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Scope community team Posts: 2,861 Disability Gamechanger
    I can never speak highly enough of volunteering and the impact it has had on me. 

    It's valuable for so many reasons: 
    • to gain experience and develop skills 
    • meet new people with similar values
    • make a positive change in an area you'e passionate about 
    • even when you're in employment, it can look good alongside a job on your CV
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  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    I can never speak highly enough of volunteering and the impact it has had on me. 

    It's valuable for so many reasons: 
    • to gain experience and develop skills 
    • meet new people with similar values
    • make a positive change in an area you'e passionate about 
    • even when you're in employment, it can look good alongside a job on your CV
    With respect mate, I have a CV of over 25 years of voluntary experience, yet some fool from Remploy accused me in 2007 of "lying" about every word of my CV because I didn't, and still don't, have named references to back it up.

    On my CV I just put "references available on request"


  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Scope community team Posts: 3,661 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm sorry to hear that @MrAllen1976. Were you not able to ask the organisations who you volunteered with for references? 
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Scope community team Posts: 3,661 Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks for sharing your experiences @WestHam06 and @littleacorn :) It sounds like you've both gained a lot from volunteering, as well as given back to your communities. I've had some really positive volunteering experiences too, and am trying to seek out new opportunities now that I've moved to a different area.
  • WestHam06WestHam06 Community champion, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,218 Pioneering
    Hi @Tori_Scope
                                I just wanted to wish you luck as you try to seek new opportunities and please do keep us updated with how it goes :) Thank you.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    I'm sorry to hear that @MrAllen1976. Were you not able to ask the organisations who you volunteered with for references? 
    Most of them don't give them to begin with, especially the PDSA and SYP.

  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Scope community team Posts: 3,661 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you @WestHam06

    Ah, that's a shame @MrAllen1976. What about any of the others you've volunteered with? It's always worth asking.
  • littleacornlittleacorn Member Posts: 149 Pioneering
    Do you have any information regarding your volunteering eg supervision notes etc which you could use to demonstrate your involvement to others who may doubt what you are saying. 
  • Butler356Butler356 Member, Community champion Posts: 37 Courageous
    I have been a volunteer for a short while and to be honest its been the best thing. No targets to meet no demands from management. I'm not sure what the paid staff think, however, I'm not concerned really. On a positive note it has given me a purpose of bringing my skills to the table, keeping in contact with real people, continuing with my communication, IT skills. I hope to continue and may think that going back to the pay role is over rated, depending on circumstances. Thumbs up for all the volunteers they are great.
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Scope community team Posts: 2,861 Disability Gamechanger
    Glad you enjoy volunteering so much @Butler356, it certainly is very fullfilling :) 
    Online Community Coordinator

    Find out more about, and apply for, the Community Co-production Group.

    Fill out the online community's new online survey to help us improve the community.

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